Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Some days are like that, even in Australia…


Have you ever had a day where the deck seems stacked against you from the moment you get out of bed?  Welcome to my day today…

I realized last night as I was getting ready to go to bed that my #1 priority for the day had to be getting my Oregon driver’s license.  I should have done it weeks ago, but it seems like every week (and sometimes every day) has had a different priority and I let the drivers license slide.  But no more—I have to deal with the speeding ticket (that finally showed up in the mail about 4 weeks after I went through the speed trap while lost in Portland) tomorrow, and I figure that means I need an Oregon driver’s license so I don’t get arrested twice—once for speeding and once for living in Oregon for 6 months without getting a license.  (You legally have 30 days to get a new license.  I know, because I’ve been studying.)  Anyway, I got back out of bed and came out here to take a bunch of practice tests online to improve my chances of passing the test this morning.

When I woke up this morning I realized that one thing I hadn’t factored into my decision to get to the DMV as early as possible was that in order to get a new drivers license I would need to get my picture taken, and this meant I couldn’t just roll out of bed and go.  I got up, showered, took the time to fix my hair and makeup, and then just as I was getting ready to leave my visiting teacher dropped by to chat for a few minutes.  It was fun talking to her because she’s getting ready to go to Hawaii for a week (and in my imagination I’m always getting ready to go to Hawaii for a week) but by the time she left I was no longer going to be early to the DMV.

As I got to the DMV (which shares a parking lot with the Dollar Tree and Winco) it occurred to me that in focusing all of my attention on trying to cram as much test information into my head as possible, I had quite forgotten to check and see if I needed to bring anything with me besides my money and my NC license.  I hoped that the fact that the van was already registered in both of our names with the DMV would mean they had enough information.


Fifteen minutes later I was back out in the parking lot, after waiting in line to get a number, only to be told that I needed to have my passport or birth certificate, and a utility bill as proof of residency. 

I drove back home, where the kids excitedly asked me if I’d passed the test already.  Ha.

Fortunately I was able to find my passport quickly.  The utility bill was a little more difficult, because we didn’t have one sitting around, but Russ finally logged me onto the natural gas company website so I could print one out from there.  I grabbed a cheese stick and was back out the door as soon as possible.

This time I had to wait five minutes in the line to get a number, listening to some poor guy argue with the DMV worker about whether or not he should have to pay a fee again after a postal error.  Neither was willing to back down, and eventually the worker went to look for his supervisor.  When he came back I handed over my documents.  He looked at the utility bill, looked at me, and asked, “Where’s Russell?” 

Now I should explain that most of our credit cards are in my name.  And in our last house, all of the utility bills were in my name as well, because I dealt with all of the changeovers.  But here Russ has taken care of things like bills and utilities while I’ve focused on things like driving across the United States as many times as possible.  So the utility bills are in his name.

I looked at the DMV guy and I said, “He’s at work.”

Whereupon he said, “This isn’t good enough.  It has to have your name on it too.”

I was kind of upset, but figured after the previous customer that working at the DMV has to be a hard job and I didn’t want to make it too much harder.  So I swallowed my disgruntlement, and turned and walked (past the 10 people who were now waiting in line to get a number behind me) out the door.

By this time it was 11:15, and I knew that I’d never get back home, find something with my name on it, and get back in time to do anything but stand in line before the DMV took a lunch break.  So I went over to Winco and bought a few things that we needed, then went home.

When I got home I was already mentally & physically exhausted—both from my late  night test-taking, and from my frustrating morning.  I ate lunch and then went and took a nap for an hour, hoping that it would rejuvenate me enough to get through the rest of the day.  (Which was looking pretty long at that point.)

I woke up at 2 and got to work finishing up Jason’s Christmas box which needed to be mailed by today.  I’d decided to mix up a couple of cookie mixes to put in the box too, and that took a little while.  Then I packed everything in, got it taped & addressed and finally took it to the post office. I had hoped that just after 3 wouldn’t be a crowded time at the post office, but my hope was in vain.  Not only was the line long, but it was long and slow.  By the time I got to the front of the line I was really missing my post office out in the country! 

When I was done at the post office it was about fifteen minutes before four.  I knew that something at the DMV had to be done before four in order to take the drivers test, but I wasn’t sure if you just had to get a number before four, or if your number had to be called before four.  Josh had just texted me that he had an urgent need for index cards and I hadn’t been able to find them at home, so I needed to go to the Dollar Tree anyway.  I figured I might as well go into the DMV and see if I was too late.

And yep, at 3:55 I was officially too late.  So off I went to get the index cards.

After I left the Dollar Tree I remembered that I also needed to go by Goodwill to get some new black pants for my evening activity.  It was at this point that the tender mercy of the day happened.  I picked 5 pairs of pants off of the rack, and 4 of them fit.  I kept the ones I liked best and went to the register where it became clear that the tender mercy moment was over.  After the cashier rang up my pants I swiped my card.  Nothing.  She got ready to call for help and I told her no problem, I’d write a check.  So I did.  Which her system also wouldn’t accept.  When she realized that her computer was having a problem, she handed me off to the next gal.  Her system wouldn’t accept my check either.  I eventually tore up the check and swiped my card and it finally worked…

By the time I got home it was 5:45, I’d prepared nothing for dinner, I was exhausted again, and my day was still not over.  I chatted Russ and asked him to bring home pizza.  Turns out he was presenting in a meeting, so everyone got to see my chat.  Cool.  Good thing I was so tired that all I said was “hey, are you there, I need you to bring home pizza” instead of starting with something like “hey, sexy man.”

About a week and a half ago the girls’ choir director at the elementary school sent out an emergency email to all of the choir parents..  Her 85 year old volunteer accompanist had hurt her back and was having surgery and was going to be out of commission for at least the Christmas season.  Was there anyone who could fill in?

My girls are enjoying this choir experience so much.  It’s exactly what I’d hoped for for them.  And I do play the piano, a little.  I sent her an email and explained that I was a medium pianist with significant performance anxiety, but that if she didn’t get any better offers (which I sincerely hoped she would) I was willing to give it a try.  Of course she didn’t, and so after two horrid (on my part) rehearsals and almost no time to practice, tonight was our first performance.  At the school board meeting at 7pm.

For the first time all day I sat down and relaxed for a while—read my email, played my games of words with friends, ate some string cheese, and then went and practiced the music for a while.  I’ve ended up copying all of the songs and taping the pages together so that I don’t need to turn pages, which I am incapable of doing while playing the piano.  Then I went and changed into black clothes and gathered up the girls and a neighbor to go.

When we got to the school district building and went into the room where the school board meets, I was confused.  There was no piano.  Then I noticed a keyboard in pieces on one table.  Not good.

Eventually the child who’d supplied the keyboard came over and helped me set it up.  As we assembled the stand he chattered (with his cute Indian accent) that this was his keyboard because of course when you start playing the piano you have a keyboard, but of course he has a grand piano now.

Of course.

The stand was kind of rickety, and the keyboard just sat on top of it without hooking in in any way.  I was a little worried every time I touched it that it was going to fall over in one direction or another.

And then there was the problem of the music holder.  I had three and four pieces of paper taped together for each song, and that was never going to stay up so that I could see it on that tiny holder.  I finally put a clip board on one side of it and put all of the pieces of music up at the same time so that the sheer bulk of papers would also provide some support.

The kids were very cute as they sang.  The spastic accompanist survived.  With lots of minor mishaps and one major mistake that involved getting completely lost after a first ending.  I wanted to go around and tell each person in the audience that yes, I already know I’m a lousy pianist, but that I’m (for the most part) better than no pianist at all, which was the other option. 

But I restrained myself.

When we were finally home at 8pm it felt like it really should be midnight.

Which means that now, 10:15, feels like 2 in the morning.  That sounds about right.


So now I’m going to go put my poor tired self into bed, then tomorrow I’m going to get up early, and after I go to Curves I’m going to come home and fix my hair & put on makeup again, and then I’m going to go back to the DMV.  With my passport and several different proofs of address. 

Let’s just hope that after all of this I pass the test!!!


  1. Next time, call your daughter, who has become an expert in driver's license test requirements. ;-) And good luck tomorrow!

  2. Uh- or you could roll out of bed, go to the DMV and look like a crazy person in your picture. I have done this, and it's actually sort of funny every time I look at my license- I recommend that approach!

  3. Love the title because I love that book! Sorry your day was so rotten, but it sounds like despite the many roadblocks, you got quite a bit accomplished. =) And I feel your pain as accompanist, but as one sweet old lady at a nursing home said to me many years ago, your audience was probably "not listening for mistakes" & big kudos to you for filling in -- especially on a rickety keyboard!